Did you know you can see everything your computer is doing at any given second? Open up the Windows Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc. Click on the Processes tab and you'll see a list of every bit of active code.
Most of it will look like gibberish! What the heck is csrss.exe anyway? (It's a critical process that stands for Client/Server Runtime Subsystem, if you care to know!) But some of these processes aren't really necessary unless you're actively using the program they're tied to.
Unnecessary processes can slow down your computer, especially on startup. Some could even be viruses! But how can you tell the difference when all the names are in what seems like a foreign language?
You can start with Process Explorer. It's a free, portable program that gives you a lot more information about each process and your computer's performance than the Task Manager.
Just download and extract the file onto your computer; no installation necessary! When you run the program, you'll see a list of color-coded processes and corresponding data on CPU usage, associated programs, size and manufacturer.
It's a good start to learning what processes are associated with what programs. The red processes are services. These are meant to run in the background and without requiring user intervention. They usually help perform basic Windows functions.